When you think of God, what springs to your mind? An old man bearing a regal white beard? A passive people pleaser after ages lounging in his celestial rocking chair? Is He a little boy prone to angry outbursts and jealous rage at a world that ignores his will? Maybe God is a vague cloud of ideas, philosophies and personalities that has arisen from the dreams of the world? Then again, perhaps in your mind, you are “god”?
The way that we imagine God is often birthed out of the things that we’ve been told about Him coupled with our own life experiences. Triumphs, losses, hurts and subsequent moments of reflection: they all create an impression of a Creator that mankind will face one day, as every human shares one definite thing in common: we will all pass away. However, the image that we have of God is crucial because it will greatly impact our value of Him in our earthly lives. “Who wants to seek an old codger?” “You mean eternity is going to be spent with a big kid?” “Why should I live any differently if I’m going to cease to exist anyway?”
The opinions and impressions of the Lord abound across the globe today, but the bible collects testimonies of those who have actually seen glimpses of the One who says that He alone is the original God of the earth. These accounts span over 4,000 years out of earth’s history and defy the watered down stereotypes the world conjures up. Here are a few:
– “Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank…” – Moses and Israel meeting God after freedom from Egypt, Exodus 24: 9-10
-“… And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne….” “… From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God…” – Apostle John’s vision of the Lord, Revelation 4: 3,5
– “His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance…”
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades…” – Revelation 1:15-18
The living God, ehyeh asher ehyeh, “I AM that I AM”, is anything but mundane. He is beautiful, radiant, mysterious and worthy of awe. His very countenance resonates with all of the elements of creation: both exquisite and terrifying. He is holy, truly set apart from our human frailty in a way that the word cannot fully convey. We may think that because God has come in the face of our savior Jesus Christ that we’ll just give him some spiritual dap when we see Him. However the Apostle John, who was arguably the closest disciple to Christ on earth, the one “Jesus loved” who reclined against Him at the last supper, fell “as dead” at the Lord’s feet when He saw Him in His divine person.
“Is this meant to scare me?” I think that is the wrong line of questioning. Rather, the right one is “do I really know who God is?” “Do I revere Him?” “Can I just make up any impression in my mind of what the Lord is like and it will be accurate? Or is He an actual being that exists with His own nature, personality, will?” The bible says so, but the world is vague on the subject. I’d like to suggest a new attitude of prayer, shamelessly gleaned from American pastor Francis Chan. Take a few moments to imagine who it is you are talking to before bringing a list of petitions. Attempting this type of intimacy with the Creator may sound unnerving for some, but such is the nature of an adventure: “an unusual and exciting or risky experience.” Let 2015 be the year that you embark on the greatest adventure of your life: to see the face of God.